Practice Economics

Patients with HAIs have more readmissions, higher mortality rates




Patients with a health care-acquired infection had a larger proportion of readmissions, greater associated costs, and higher mortality rates compared to patients with no HAI, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Investigators at Linköping (Sweden) University examined the effects of HAIs by calculating the difference in hospital length of stay (LOS) and actual direct health care costs for patients with an HAI compared with patients without HAI. They used data from the Swedish National Point Prevalence Surveys of HAI 2010-2012, merged with cost-per-patient data from the Health Care Register of the Swedish county of Östergötland. Extended LOS and costs related to an HAI were adjusted for sex, age, intensive care unit use, and surgery.

The average prevalence of HAI for all 7,981 patients in the study was 10.8%, although for the 7,062 patients in the main analyses the prevalence of HAI in the Point Prevalence Survey was 9.9%. Those patients with HAI (732 patients) had a larger proportion of readmissions compared with patients with no HAI (29.0% vs 16.5%), a significant difference, said Mikael Rahmqvist, Ph.D., of the department of medical and health sciences at Linköping University, and lead author of the study.

Of the total hospital bed days occupied by patients in the study population, 9.3% was considered to be excess days, attributed to the group of patients with an HAI. This excess LOS comprised 11.4% of total health care costs (95% confidence interval, 10.2-12.7). The 1-year overall mortality rate for patients with HAI in comparison to all other patients was 1.75 (95% CI, 1.45-2.11). The coauthors said all of the differences measured were statistically significant (P less than .001).

“Our results imply that a reduction of HAI prevalence to a significant degree could reduce health care costs, lessen patient suffering, and also increase patients’ long-term survival,” said Dr. Rahmqvist and his coauthors.

They reported having no conflicts.

Read the full study in the American Journal of Infection Control (doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2016.01.035).

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